|Partners by Tara Fox Hall
Vampire investigator Danial Racklan finds more than his target when the suffering werecougar Theo crosses his path one evening. For Theo is not only a man with a past as tragic as his own, but also destined to give Danial something he’s never had before: a partner he could trust.
Reviews for Night Music and Partners
"Night Music is a sweet and beautiful romance that fills the characters and the reader with the hope that Happily Ever Afters do exist.
"Tara Fox Hall's Partners is the beginning of what promises to be one hell of a dangerous and drama-filled romance." -- Randa D.
Reviews for A Living Specimen
"Tori's characters each have their uniqueness that is coupled with a surface impression from Trisha's view and inner complexity that works itself out through the story. Just when you think you've got things figured out suddenly you're reevaluating everything you've seen so far. Then you're hit again with surprises...For clever plot, well flushed out characters, pithy quips and good old fashioned nightcrawlers you would NOT bring home to meet your parents I give this a solid five stars." --John Steiner
Visit Tara Fox Hall's web site
Visit Tori L. Ridgewood's blog
Read an excerpt from Night Music by Tara Fox Hall
About Tara Fox Hall
Tara Fox Hall’s writing credits include nonfiction, horror, suspense, erotica, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance. She also coauthored the essay “The Allure of the Serial Killer,” published in Serial Killers - Philosophy for Everyone: Being and Killing (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010). Her first full-length action-adventure novel, Lash, published in April 2012. Her vampire series begins in June 2012, with the 1st novel Promise Me. Tara divides her free time unequally between writing novels and short stories, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target practice.
Also by Tara Fox Hall
About Tori L. Ridgewood
Tori L. Ridgewood is a full-time secondary school teacher, a mother, a partner, and a writer and reader of all things fiction and non-fiction. Tori enjoys writing vampire / paranormal romances, sweet and humourous looks at pregnancy and childbirth, and horror fiction. Tori enjoys writing plays for her students, watching thunderstorms, walking her dog, needlework (quilting, cross-stitching, and embroidery), collecting miniature furniture, traveling, and watching movies. Currently working on a trilogy of adult vampire novels to follow “Mist and Midnight”, Tori also plans to write young adult fiction in the near future.
Also by Tori L. Ridgewood
Mist and Midnight” (Midnight Thirsts, Melange Books, 2011)
“Telltale Signs” (Spellbound 2011, Melange Books, 2011)
“A Living Specimen” (Midnight Thirsts 2, Melange Books, 2012)
And coming soon...
“Tabitha’s Solution” (Having My Baby, Melange Books, fall of 2012)
“Brain Games” and “Bio Zombie” (A Quick Bite of Flesh, Hazardous Press, date tbd)
“Thy Will Be Done” (Dark Moon Books, date tbd)
An Interview with Tara Fox Hall and Tori L. Ridgewood
By Holly Hewson for The Romance Studio
HH: Tara and Tori, thank you for talking with us at TRS. You each have stories featured in the Midnight Thirsts 2 anthology. First what can you tell us about this fascinating collection of stories?
Tara: Midnight Thirsts 2 is vampire fiction in quick, delicious bites! There should be something for everyone in this anthology, no matter how you prefer your vampires: scary, sexy, intelligent, or humorous. There is also more than one tale of vampire hunters, as well!
Tori: Sometimes, you need to escape in the middle of the day. You may only have half an hour, or even fifteen minutes during your lunch, to dive into another world. Midnight Thirsts 2 will give you that moment to get away, be titillated or intrigued, and send you back to life with a smile on your face.
HH: What can you tell us about your stories and how they came to be in the anthology?
Tara: When I saw the call for submissions, I knew I wanted to submit a vampire work that tied in with my Promise Me series. “Night Music”, my tale of romantic suspense between the vampire David Helm and the human Krys Markman at scenic Letchworth state park, was finished a month later. Additionally, I had written a short prequel called “Partners” about how the main characters in Promise Me -- the vampire Danial Racklan and the werecougar Theo -- had met and forged not only a business partnership, but also deep friendship. At first, I wasn’t sure this was acceptable for the anthology, being neither a romance nor a horror story, but I’m very happy it was included. I hope readers who like my series enjoy both stories, and those first time readers like the characters enough to read my novels.
Tori: It’s all my dear friend Tara’s doing: A little nudge here, a reminder there, that a deadline was coming... My novella, “Mist and Midnight”, is in the first Midnight Thirsts anthology (2011, Melange Books), and Tara encouraged me to write another contribution for the sequel. I was working on the second book of a trilogy to follow “Mist and Midnight”, but I needed something fresh to ward off a block. The inspiration came from a freaky picture my husband showed me from This! Is! Damnlol.com -- a seemingly ordinary shot of a living room, in which a creepy face is hidden under a couch pillow. I just knew I had to write a story about that picture. Who did the face belong to, and how did it get there? The narrative began to shape itself in two versions, each wrestling for control, until I managed to pull the bits together by using flashbacks for movement. The characters and Society of Hunters and Investigators of the Paranormal may reappear in my trilogy as it evolves, or return in a full-length novelization of “A Living Specimen” later on -- leaving my protagonist in her predicament rather leaves me feeling riddled with guilt.
HH: How does your story blend in with the others to make this an anthology to remember?
Tara: Many vampire anthologies are only horror stories, or romance compilations. Being a vampirephile, I admit some nights I want to read about an evil vampire, and sometimes about a good one. I hope that with this anthology, readers can get a mix of vampires to fulfill whatever they feel in the mood for all within one cover.
I really like how this anthology has a mix of interpretations of the genre. It steps aside from the expected to explore both the lighter and darker corners of vampire fiction and mythology (traditional and modern). Do we believe the stereotype about the fiend? How do we reconcile the being we get to know with the villain we’ve always feared? What if the worst we see in the vampire is really our fear of the worst in ourselves? In “A Living Specimen”, a talented and intelligent hunter with a bright future is thrown into a worst-case scenario -- the situation she has always trained to avoid -- in the way she least expects. How will this reality change the way she sees herself, and her closest friends? I think, and hope, that readers will be pulled into her story, and see something of their own selves and fears reflected there.
HH: What makes your story stand out in the anthology?
Tara :“Night Music” stands out because the setting is Letchworth State Park, a real park in upstate New York. All the places mentioned, from the Glen Iris Inn to Inspiration Point, are all real places. I have read a ton of vampire novels, and never heard of one set in a park. But Letchworth is so beautifully scenic that the park seemed a perfect setting for a romance. I actually can’t believe that the setting hasn’t been used before now!
“Partners” stands out because the story is one of the bricks in the foundation of the Promise Me series. So much happens in the series because Danial and Theo met and became friends. Without Theo to help him, Danial would have stayed solitary, more of a lone detective. Because Theo was there to watch his back, Danial was able to expand into more corporate cases, leaving the seedier and more dangerous work behind. Alternately, Theo would likely have died if Danial hadn’t befriended him, and helped guide him in his new supernatural life, not to mention given him training with not only weapons, but also tactics. Down deep, Theo believes he owes Danial a debt for this, and gives the vampire his loyalty in return. That cements their friendship, and in time, they become best friends.
Tori: “A Living Specimen” is a well-crafted puzzle. If the reader sees the twist coming, that’s okay -- it’s watching how the pieces fall together that’s different and enjoyable. It starts with a question, and the reader is taken through Trisha’s memories of a tragic and horrible event as she searches for the answer. Pieces of the truth reveal themselves and the narrative falls into place quickly, leading to a satisfying adrenaline rush at the climax. Everything matters in this story -- the personalities of the characters, the layout of the mansion, all the details add up to an unexpected, adrenaline-inducing portrait of a woman at the beginning of her life experiencing the edges of death and betrayal.
HH: What other stories in the anthology can you recommend?
Tara: I am pleased to say the other included stories run the gamut. There are some very hot and sexy stories, like “Primal Magic”, and also the very amusing “Fangs a Lot”. “Embraced by a Vampire” and “Flowers of Evil” are intriguing, having both suspense and romance, and I enjoyed reading them. But I have to recommend my coauthor Tori’s story, “A Living Specimen” at the top. I really love her vampires (and vampire hunters).
Tori: Thank you, Tara! I agree, there’s an excellent range from poetically sweet, sensual, and suspenseful, to funny, snarky, and energetic.
“Night Music” is a delightful journey into another corner of the supernatural world Tara has created in her debut novel, Lash, and it positively captivated me. Romance, redemption, hope, a beautiful setting -- no interruptions were able to pull me away until I finished it.
I enjoyed the language in “Flowers of Evil” -- David Landrum has a gift for turning a phrase, and his work will appeal to fans of vampire films, like Underworld, or the tv show Sanctuary.
Brooksley Borne “Primal Magic”, delighted me with the beauty of her imagery and the contrasts of medieval Scotland seen through the eyes of an unwilling Egyptian bride. Wonderful. Fresh. It’s Cinderella, reworked with sensuality and magic, and a spunky heroine I quite enjoyed.
“Fangs a Lot” by Karley Campbell begins with fantastic dialogue, grabbing the reader in a headlock and refusing to let go. I loved how the characters bantered, the snarky inner monologue of the heroine, and another refreshing take on the vampire mythology that is once more reminiscent of Sanctuary (so sad, btw, that that tv show is over now...). Seriously, I laughed out loud -- not just a meme, I really did -- reading Campbell’s work. I can’t wait to see what else she has in store.
“Partners” -- another excellent story by the most excellent Tara Fox Hall -- impressed me with the precision and pacing of the dialogue and narrative. I couldn’t put it down. Her vision is, as always, complete and detailed, the characters absolutely involving and sexy.
Ruth Imeson is another writer with a beautiful sense of language. “Beneath the Earth Lies Fire” invited me into another time, made me feel for the characters, and intrigued me with the plot. Lovely.
HH: What else do you have in store for lucky readers?
Tara: Promise Me is the first in a series. More books will be coming out in the next two years, with a new book about every 3-4 months, and there will also be short stories that tie in now and again, like Night Music and Partners. I’ll also continue with my Lash series at Bradley publishing; the next book, Shadow Man, is due out in late October. Look also for my collaborative anthology with esteemed author Jenny Twist in early fall 2012, a mix of romance and horror called Bedtime Shadows.
I am currently working on a trilogy which will follow the novella, “Mist and Midnight” (Midnight Thirsts, Melange Books). The first novel in the series, “Wind and Shadow”, is in revision stages, and I’m anticipating publishing it some time this year. The second book, “Blood and Fire”, I began during NaNoWriMo 2011; it’s a work in progress, at the half-way point, and the third book is still lurking in the tissues of my brain... With these in motion, I also continue writing short stories in a variety of genres. Some of them expand the world and characters I have begun in “Mist and Midnight” / “Wind and Shadow”, like “A Living Specimen.” Others are entirely independent, such as “Telltale Signs”, my ghost story in the anthology Spellbound 2011, (Melange Books) but may spin themselves into novel form. In addition, I have two flash fiction zombie stories (“Brain Games” and “Bio Zombie) coming in an anthology called A Quick Bite of Flesh from Hazardous Press (date tba), a short alternate history about the Salem Witch Trials called “Thy Will Be Done” which will be published in Dark Moon Books this fall, and a sweetly humourous story about overdue labour and childbirth, called “Tabitha’s Solution”, in an anthology called Having My Baby (Melange Books, fall 2012).
HH: Where can readers find all of your works?
Tara: All my short story and longer works are listed on my website here, most of them with links: www.tarafoxhall.com
All my current works for sale are listed here on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Tara-Fox-Hall/e/B005YPAA4W
Midnight Thirsts and Spellbound 2011 are available in print or e-book on Amazon, Lulu.com, or through Melange-Books.com. Short works in progress and excerpts from published works can be found on my blog, where I welcome comments: torilridgewood.wordpress.com.
HH: What would we find in your to-be-read pile?
Tara: The moon, sun and starlit sky. I have a bunch of novels to review, and also ones given to me as gifts, about ten romances that were my grandmother’s that I inherited, and lastly, some I bought years ago. The book I’m reading now is The Repossession by David Wren. I’ll be on that a while, as it’s a huge tome!
Tori: Promise Me, for starters! I am addicted to buying books, both paper and electronic, and I’m hoping to get through some of them this summer. I have two new anthologies on heroic women in history and mythology, romances by some of my fellow authors at Melange Books...
HH: What other in person or online appearances will you be making this year?
Tara: For a complete list of blog dates, please check my FB page (I post a link as soon as the blog is live for comment or contest entries): www.facebook.com/pages/Tara-Fox-Hall/151813374904903
And/OR http://www.melange-books.com/authortour.html I hope to do some book signings this coming fall
Tori: I am guest blogging at http://aecurzon.wordpress.com/ this month, on the theme of “Issues I am Passionate About”. I hope to do more guest blogging as opportunities arise, but due to family commitments, I will be enjoying the summer at home.
HH: When you're not reading or promoting you like to __________?
Tara: I have a lot of passions. This summer, my focus outside of reading and promoting in on gardening, and I hope to be able to keep the weeds under control. I also want to work on the next book in my action adventure series, Lash. There will also hopefully be some time to enjoy my family’s lake cottage, and do some swimming. I love sitting on an inner tube in the summer sun, with only the waves and the crying of seagulls above.
Tori: I am a beginning gardener -- I managed to grow a nice, though small, crop of veggies and flowers last year and am hoping to repeat the success. Writing is a wonderfully satisfying escape and release, but with two active children to corral and feed, I don’t give myself as much time as I would like to scratch that particular itch. I spend a lot of hours taking my children to their activities -- mainly soccer practices at the moment, but the summer will include two weeks of anime drawing classes for my eleven-year-old, Jack, and two weeks of dance classes for my six-year-old, Bridget, and perhaps a week of sleepaway camp for Jack as well. During the school year, my world revolves around ferrying the children to karate and dance, swimming and skating, when I’m not working at my job as a full-time secondary school teacher.
However... I enjoy playing alternative, indie, and pop rock while cleaning or gardening. Or having my favourite tv shows on my computer while I wash dishes (I’m a huge fan of Chuck, Lost Girl, Continuum, Sex and the City); I love movies of all genres -- the challenge of searching out early previews, finding books that movies are based on and trying to read them before seeing them, dissecting the films after I’ve seen them... I enjoy cross-stitch and quilting, making and collecting miniature furniture, walks with my dog, Skittles, and strangely, mowing my lawn.
I am also guilty of some addiction to Facebook and Twitter.
HH: Thank you!